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Heat lingers, but Wesmen pull through on Senior Night

"I'm sad, but also I'm happy because I made so many relationships on my team over the five years," Skylar Boulanger said after playing her final home league game Saturday night. (Kelly Morton photo)
"I'm sad, but also I'm happy because I made so many relationships on my team over the five years," Skylar Boulanger said after playing her final home league game Saturday night. (Kelly Morton photo)

BY DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics

The Winnipeg Wesmen are likely hoping they got that one out of their system.

The Wesmen struggled against a winless, albeit fiery, UBC-Okanagan squad Saturday night and squeaked out a 69-61 victory over the Heat to close out the Canada West season.

The Wesmen finished the season 14-6 and, through the Canada West's RPI seeding system, will host the UNBC Timberwolves in a one-game first-round playoff match-up Thursday at Duckworth Centre. The Wesmen finish as the 6-seed, while the Timberwolves, 9-11 in conference play, will come in as the 11-seed.

Winnipeg did not make it easy Saturday night, which served as Senior Night for fifth-year guard Antoinette Miller and fifth-year post Skylar Boulanger. UBCO didn't make it easy, either, causing 19 Wesmen turnovers and forcing Miller into her worst shooting night of the season, a 4-for-22 effort.

Miller still finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds and five steals. Faith Hezekiah added 19 points and 11 rebounds, her 13th double-double of the season.

Boulanger finished with nine points on 4-for-5 shooting to go along with seven rebounds.

VIDEO: Skylar Boulanger after her final league game

"I'm sad, but also I'm happy because I made so many relationships on my team over the five years," Boulanger said. "It went by so fast, but I'm happy too that I got to experience five years. Not many people make it that far and I'm just proud. I'm really proud."

Boulanger had family in attendance, including of course her sister Robyn, a freshman guard who came off the bench for 19 points, a conference-play high for her and four points off her career high.

The Wesmen weren't able to shake the Heat, who got a three-pointer from Vanessa Botteselle with 12 seconds left to go in the second quarter to send the game into halftime tied 37-37.

The Heat hung around well into the fourth, pulling to 51-50 down on a Shenelle Tamminen three 1:05 into the final frame. Tamminen would finish with a season-high 19 points, including 5-for-10 from three.

Even an ensuing 7-0 Winnipeg run wasn't enough to derail UBCO, which cut that eight-point deficit to 60-58 on an Emma Johnson jumper with 2:42 to go.

"It was their last game, they have two fifth-years too. They probably wanted to go out with a bang," Skylar Boulanger said of the Heat's impressive performance. "And they did. Good for them. But we came out and won and it's a good feeling to end my league five years with a win."